So where were we? Oh, yea: Campground outside of Glendale; not run by tweakers. Perfect. Let’s do this.
I got an actual early start for a change; I was packed up and back on the road by 8:30. It was gloomy out and kind of chilly. I had cold feet in the most literal sense from the night before. First stop was the gas station. I guess I haven’t mention yet that you can’t pump your own gas in Oregon? Yea, can’t do that here. However, they usually let you if you’re on a motorcycle. It’s kind of an awkward maneuver having someone else trying to do it and not overflow it. Anyway, this kid is the only person working this tiny gas station when I got there. He came tumbling out of the store of the station smelling very much like the devil’s lettuce; apologizing profusely for making me wait. For reference, I’d been there for about 30 seconds; I was just starting to take off my gloves. He proceeds to fill my tank instead of allowing me to do it; surprisingly no spillage though.
Anyway, pretty cool kid. I stopped in the store, grabbed some supplies then I left to load everything onto my bike. Another guy pulled up in a truck and the kid again stumbled out. This guy started talking to me about my trip and the kid came over to join in. We all talked for about 10 mins. The PA plate really gets people wondering how you got here and where you’re going. He wished me luck and hoped I could chase summer fast enough because winter was coming in a hurry. *Side Note* In retrospect “chasing summer” would have been a way cooler name for this blog.
I finished packing and realized I forgot a bottle of water. I ran back in to grab one. I went to pay and the kid told me it was on the house. I argued, he insisted, I lost. My first taste of Oregonian hospitality; it wouldn’t be the last.
I set off back down the TAT. More of the same from the day before, but much colder. I got to the top of the mountain and my gauge was reading 52. It was pretty cold while moving but the views? Spectacular:
I run all of the way up the mountain then all of the way back down. The trail was rough but I was able to slug The Doctor up it and safely back down it over the mile long track. Man this thing is going to be a real pain in the Rockies…
The tracks take me back down the mountain and onto a main road. Again, just as it did yesterday, it told me to turn off the road about 2 miles later and into the woods. I feel as though I should probably go ahead and explain another weird thing. All the tracks and roads are legal public roads. They’re all dirt, gravel or sand tracks and if you look on a map they are there. You don’t even need to look on any kind of specialized map; Google Maps will work.
The weird thing this is the relationship, that I don’t really understand, between land owners, the National Forest Service and theBLM. There are private ranches all along these forest roads and their cattle graze on forest and BLM land and everyday people use it for basically whatever other recreational activities they’d like. These roads will go right through property marked “Private” and “No Trespassing”; they will have a gate and it will be open.
Why is all important? The TAT track lead me past a bunch of these ranches and signs. It’s common place to have these roads go literally right through a property. You can tell because stuff is usually sprawled out on both sides of the road. Most people put a sign a little ways up the road saying “Please Slow Down”.
I followed the track up the road that came right up to an open gate; the house 15′ off the road and a giant homemade sign “POSITIVELY NO TRESPASSING!” with an AR-15 silhouette below it. Needless to say whether this guy was right or wrong I didn’t want to have the merits of his rights being debated in court because he shot me, so I bailed.
I jumped back onto the main road and looked at the GPS. South Umpqua road was the next turn; it followed the Umpqua River and it looked like TAT track met up with it about 20 or so miles down the road.
I followed the road and finally met up with the track. The TAT track followed South Umpqua about 6 miles then made a left. This road was amazing! Fast gravel, straight line, no turns for about 4 miles until… Yep, you guessed it; it ended!
I came skidding in full brakes, right into a small campground obviously set up by visitors instead of the Forest Service with a huge embankment about 7′ high blocking the track. It had obviously been there for some time because there were 15′ pine trees as far as you could see growing behind it.
I’ll admit, now I’m kind of frustrated and a little bit angry. Yesterday I hit the closed road; which wasn’t the track author’s fault. However, today I hit private property that obviously shouldn’t have been entered and now this stupid road block? I uploaded the author’s supposed “2016 update” version of the tracks GPS for a reason. Where’s the update!?
I promised myself after yesterday that I wasn’t going to go on anymore self guided tours of Oregon forests after getting lost in the mountains at dark. Instead I ride back down to the South Umpqua road and consult the GPS for a second time. The next gas stop is a place called “Dry Creek Store” and from what I’ve read you have to fill up there if you want to make the next leg up to Crescent on the TAT.
Now I don’t know that my range is the same as what the author estimates you’ll need because I have an enormous tank. I was able to make yesterday’s trek with plenty to spare. However, I’m also not 100% sure what my off-road mileage is because frankly it is bound to vary depending on the terrain. Either way it’s good practice to fill up when you can; if for nothing else piece of mind. Also, I don’t plan on making a habit of pretending I know more about the trail than the author. If it says fill up before you go off miles into the woods, then that’s what I’m doing.
Anyway, Dry Creek Store is on highway 138. Perfect, the sign in front of me says “State HWY 138: 46mi” with an arrow pointing left. I end up following this same forest road, South Umpqua road all 46 miles. The road is awesome. It was all twisties and I’m leaning The Doctor out through the hairpins like no buddy’s business. It’s a blast.
The road turns into gravel and continues up the mountain where I went from leaning out turns to fishtailing them like a Dakar racer. I also shot this at the top:
Followed by a long, long down hill section to 138 where you are greeted by this bad boy:
I hang a left and shoot up to Dry Creek Store; which is closed. Permanently. Again, what was the 2016 update to the tracks and waypoints supposed to be? This seems like an important one…
While I’m sitting in the parking lot another kid pulls up in an SUV with Washington plates looking panicked and asks if this place is really closed. I tell him yes. He speeds off. Not sure where he’s going; there doesn’t appear to be gas for miles…
I look at the map and GPS again and decide the safe bet is to take Hwy 138 to 97, then 97 up to Crescent. This a crappy 69 miles on road as opposed to the 75 miles off-road that the TAT track is showing. Seems like almost no difference but off-road v.s. on-road can be much different fuel wise plus at least there’s people on the road route if I run out of gas. To be honest 75 miles is within my range but it’s 3:45 at this point and judging by how the day has gone so far I have absolutely zero faith that I won’t get 40 miles up the road, have to turn around and then actually be out of my range.
The road route is pretty crappy route though because its 14 miles in a straight line East, the road turns right then it’s 12 miles South. Again it turns East for the last 15 miles to 97. Then make a left on 97 and head 30 miles in a straight line North. The speed limit is 65 and it’s a two lane road. Fantastic…
The ride is cold and I haven’t taken many pictures yet which was upsetting me so I pulled off at a Clearwater Falls:
I looked at the map again on Google Maps this time and it is showing that there is an alternate route that is off the main road. I decided to give it a shot because it goes straight to Crescent and is only 40 miles. The road started out paved but soon turns to gravel.
I decide to give it a shot because the prospect of the main road just seems painful. As I’m driving up this road my phone starts telling me to make U-turns and head back. It is literally telling my to ride around in circles. I am very, very angry at this point and decide heck with it I’m going back to the main road to do the original road route.
One very freezing hour later I end up in Crescent; at the inn tagged as a waypoint on the TAT tracks. Which, to my understanding, were all supposed to be affordable establishments. Wrong again but I’m tired, cold and angry. I just want a shower and a warm bed; plus it was going to rain and the temps were forecasted to go down to 28.
I paid for the room and was unloading my stuff when three Harley guys walked up and saw my PA plate. They hit me with a ton of questions and were blown away by the trip. Mark, Rick and Rick’s son Paul were from Eugene and had come down for the night on the bikes to have some beers. Mark and Rick were Pharmacists and Paul worked at a bank.
I got my stuff unloaded and into the hotel. I went back out to throw my rotor lock on and the guys were sitting out on the porch drinking whiskey and they called me over for a drink. We had a few drinks and they invited me to come to dinner with them. I agreed and ran over to grab a quick shower.
We hit the burger place across the street, had some burgers and shared a few pitchers of beer. Good times. The bill came and they said dinner was on them. I argued, they insisted, I lost…again.
We all went back to the motel, I thanked everyone then went in and crashed for night.
Oh yea, the place had a kind of cool toilet seat though.
Mileage about 236.